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Basel Chocolate-Spice Cookies (Basel Brunsli)
Yield: 2 Servings

1 1/4 c blanched whole almonds (about 7 ounces)
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 1/2 tb unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 ts ground cinnamon
1/8 ts ground cloves
3 oz bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped fine
1/4 ts (generous) almond extract
2 lg egg whites
2 to 5 Tbl confectioners' sugar for rolling out cookies

Heat oven to 325F. Line several baking sheets with aluminum foil.
In a food processor, process the almonds and 1 cup powdered sugar
until the almonds are powder-fine but not oily; stop the processor
and scrape down the sides several times. Add the cocoa powder,
cinnamon, cloves, and chocolate; continue processing until the
chocolate is finely ground. Add the remaining 1/2 cup powdered
sugar, the almond extract, and egg whites; process until the mixture
is blended and just forms a mass. Set the dough aside for 5 to 10
minutes to stiffen slightly.

Generously dust a work surface with powdered sugar. If the dough
seems too soft to roll out easily, dust it with more sugar and
knead until the consistency is manageable, but avoid adding any
more sugar than absolutely necessary. Roll out the dough to 1/4
inch thickness, lifting it with a spatula frequently and redusting
the surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar to prevent sticking.
Cut out the cookies using a 2 1/4-inch heart-shaped (or similar)
cutter. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared
baking sheets, about 1 inch apart.

Bake the cookies for 9 to 12 minutes or until almost firm on top
and slightly puffy. Let them stand on the foil lined baking sheets
until completely cooled. Peel from the foil. Store airtight for
3 to 4 days. Freeze, airtight, for longer storage.


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